Pakistan v Australia, 1st MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Lord's, 2nd day July 14, 2010

Pakistan's young batsmen need a guiding hand

The inexperience of the batting line-up was always likely to be Pakistan's major problem and on a cloudy day at Lord's they came unstuck
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It is cloudy. There is swing. Australia are the opponents. You are making your debut at Lord's. The emotions, the thoughts, the nerves, the expectations: all these factors would've crossed the minds of Azhar Ali and Umar Amin as they stirred themselves up before walking on to the billiards-table flat green turf on debut.

Like lambs to be slaughtered they were slotted in at No. 3 and 4 - two spots usually reserved for the best batsmen in the team. But let's forget the logic behind the decision because Pakistan cricket has never believed in that notion. In the weeks leading up to the Test series the Pakistan management stressed that they were ready to turn a new page and would be focused on grooming young talent even if it the plan seemed too risky. In keeping with that policy, both Azhar and Amin had received strong backing from Waqar Younis and Shahid Afridi.

Today, it did not take long for Azhar to walk in as a fraught temperament accounted for Imran Farhat's. Azhar, not a natural top-order batsman, had climbed through the ranks with his impressive performances in domestic cricket. He started with a steady pulse. It was not a bad ploy considering the ball was only six overs old and Ben Hilfenhaus was constantly breathing down the batsmen's neck with testing swing and seam bowling from the Pavilion End.

Azhar did well to read both Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger without rushing into his shots. He preferred to wait patiently before negotiating everything that was thrown at him with soft hands. When Hilfenhaus gave him width he quickly pushed it past point for his first boundary. Two balls later, the Australian pitched it full and the ball moved out late, taking the outside edge which fell a few yards in front of the slip cordon. Azhar punched his thigh pad a few times in disgust. Immediately Salman Butt whispered some wisdom into his ears . It helped the newcomer to settle down quickly. Bollinger tested him with a short ball that climbed into the ribs but Azhar played with short hands to fetch an easy four to fine leg.

But he would learn immediately why Australian bowling attacks keep asking tougher questions than MI5 interrogators. Hilfenhaus sensed Azhar was reaching out for his shot. Lunch was an over away. Not a bad time for a teaser then. So the last ball of the penultimate over, Hilfenhaus moved one away which grazed Azhar's edge and a promising start was cut short.

In comparison Amin's exit was quick as he was beaten by a sharp delivery from Mitchell Johnson that pitched on a length, straightened a touch and still managed to graze the bat on its way into the hands of Tim Paine. Tough luck and Australia didn't need to work hard to get rid of the next three batsmen. The Akmal brothers - Umar and Kamran - displayed shoddy technique to exit but more alarming was Afridi's shockingly frail temperament, unfitting for a Test captain.

Even if Afridi was playing his first Test in four years he is not an ideal example for youngsters to follow. His suicidal approach eventually reeks of irresponsibility. It is this casual attitude of the seniors that has compounded Pakistan's batting worries over the years. Unfortunately for the youngsters like Azhar and Amin, and even Umar Akmal, the Pakistan batting doesn't have any senior figures to look up to or learn from. The men who could have led by example, the two Ys, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan, are nursing bitterness towards the PCB, who dumped them unceremoniously after Pakistan lost every match in Australia earlier this year.

Outside the famous stands around Lord's players who achieved illustrious feats at the venue are displayed prominently. Among the names is Yousuf for recording the highest score (202) by a Pakistan batsman at the ground. He is absent from the present squad following his abrupt decision to retire from international cricket in March after the PCB banned him for an indefinite period for the debacle in Australia where he was captain. Younis Khan, their highest run-getter this decade behind Yousuf, is absent as well with the PCB and the player unwilling to relent from the stand-off as a result of the indefinite ban. Pakistan will continue to feel the pinch in the duo's absence.

Last time they toured England they lost the series, but at least Younis, Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq formed a backbone. If the Pakistan administration and selectors are indeed serious about developing youngsters they will need to develop their confidence first. For that a long rope is necessary. Azhar and Amin were preferred over the more experienced pair of Shoaib Malik and Yasir Hameed in this Test. The youngsters might work harder the next time to protect their wicket to ward off competition, but they need a helping hand from responsible seniors. Brilliant spells late in the day from their skilled and gifted fast bowlers kept Pakistan's hopes alive at Lord's. But it is the batsmen who will need to bounce back to take them past the finishing line. Not just in this Test, but for the rest of the summer.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on July 16, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Afridi and management considered this as the trail for the future, hopefully if Pakistan won the test series then this will be real boost and come back for our cricket and if we loose there will be not much sorrow for us because PCB management is giving some time to the skipper to get the test cricket to balance form. Now Pakistan is in the great position to win this game and if they loose we will never mind.

  • waseem_akhtar on July 15, 2010, 15:49 GMT

    Firstly, it was a kamikaze act to land at the Lord's with this squad. I would strongly suggest that these guys should be allowed to consider the 439-target as an ODI target which will allow them to be more practical and easy as Test is not their game. Occupying crease does bring runs, but it needs stamina which isn't part of the luggage. So, for the sake of change, which Tests anyway need, let the 4th inning an ODI for as young and inexperienced squad as Pakistan, just my ten cents.

  • cskfangg on July 15, 2010, 14:15 GMT

    Can anyone tell me,what afridi is doing in this Test match?? he cant bowl as test match bowler, he cant bat like test playing batsmen, then what he is doing? captaining?.. I wonder how PCB allows him as a captain?..for whom they not even consider as a substitute for 4 years!!..strange things happening in pak team..

  • shaantanu on July 15, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    being an indian i m not really a die hard fan of pakistan cricket naturally.however i do want pakistan to do well this time around.notice the irony in tht.......they do have world class bowlers at their disposal n they sud be backed up by some sensible batting from their batters.i cant understand why subcontinent teams(read india n pakistan) cannot get this balance right between bowlers n batsmen.We have a strong batting line up only to be backed by a substandard bowling lineup.n for pak its just the other way round.thts frustating

  • shaantanu on July 15, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    it was a rather poor decision to send two debutants at 3 and 4 but not surprising.one tends to get used to such illogical decisions on the part of pak management

  • on July 15, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    I think everybody is expecting too much from Afridi and this young team! This is a young team with an attacking leader, this is his first test match in 4 years and that too as a captain, he has some faith in these youngster and i dont find it a bad ploy to expose youngster at No.3 and No.4 against one of the best bowling line up in the world and in testing conditions, this is how they will learn! Afridi has put faith in these 2 young batsmen and sooner or later it will come off, Azhar Ali was playing very well, he seems to have a decent test technique and he needs to be given a longer run, its just that he and Umer Amin got a good ball, simple! in a wicket where the likes of Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson and Umer Akmal failed to score runs, what do you expect from a player who is making his debut? Come on guys you need to be more realistic and lets face it, Pakistan might go on to lose all the test matches, but they will come out stronger the next time they visit any country!

  • Bilal_Choudry on July 15, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    whats with asim kamal fans ... the guy last played like 5 years ago and didnt break any records ... we need to move forward and get new guys

  • on July 15, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    i know dis is an serious issue. but i cant stop my self laughin.

    "But let's forget the logic behind the decision because Pakistan cricket has never believed in that notion. " ROFl comic tragedy..

  • dr_salman on July 15, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    just like bowlers learn from the seniors standing at mid off or mid on...coming up to them n telling how to bowl...similarly a rookie batsman shd have an experienced guy at the other end to keep talking to him n guiding...who do u expect that from..afridi playing his 1st test in last 4 yrs?

    n yes on a difficult pitch y wd u expect newcommers to make centuries..its the farhats, akmals n afridis who shd ve fired !! yasir hameed shd ve bin included..

    n guys...WHERE THE HELL IS ASIM KAMAL??...the guy has a real cool test temprament !!

  • on July 15, 2010, 11:22 GMT

    i think people should stop harping on about asim kamal he's made to be this shakepearan character that due to the tradegy of the selectors never fulfilled his talent to become our answer to rahul dravid .he was at best an admirable workhorse the type to average around 38 a honest pro nothing special and definately no real threat to a world class attack like australias.a player that should have been pushed and backed was hasan raza a player whos record in the first class system betters any none test playing player.but all thats in the past .to stop our world class attack losing heart in the future the way indias batting line up used to before there bowlers upped their game our senior players need to be back at the least younis khan to guide new players .also pcb needs to stop picking 40 averaging domestic players as if they cant average higher in the poor pakistani international bowler depleted league what chance do they have against world class bowlers.

  • on July 16, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Afridi and management considered this as the trail for the future, hopefully if Pakistan won the test series then this will be real boost and come back for our cricket and if we loose there will be not much sorrow for us because PCB management is giving some time to the skipper to get the test cricket to balance form. Now Pakistan is in the great position to win this game and if they loose we will never mind.

  • waseem_akhtar on July 15, 2010, 15:49 GMT

    Firstly, it was a kamikaze act to land at the Lord's with this squad. I would strongly suggest that these guys should be allowed to consider the 439-target as an ODI target which will allow them to be more practical and easy as Test is not their game. Occupying crease does bring runs, but it needs stamina which isn't part of the luggage. So, for the sake of change, which Tests anyway need, let the 4th inning an ODI for as young and inexperienced squad as Pakistan, just my ten cents.

  • cskfangg on July 15, 2010, 14:15 GMT

    Can anyone tell me,what afridi is doing in this Test match?? he cant bowl as test match bowler, he cant bat like test playing batsmen, then what he is doing? captaining?.. I wonder how PCB allows him as a captain?..for whom they not even consider as a substitute for 4 years!!..strange things happening in pak team..

  • shaantanu on July 15, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    being an indian i m not really a die hard fan of pakistan cricket naturally.however i do want pakistan to do well this time around.notice the irony in tht.......they do have world class bowlers at their disposal n they sud be backed up by some sensible batting from their batters.i cant understand why subcontinent teams(read india n pakistan) cannot get this balance right between bowlers n batsmen.We have a strong batting line up only to be backed by a substandard bowling lineup.n for pak its just the other way round.thts frustating

  • shaantanu on July 15, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    it was a rather poor decision to send two debutants at 3 and 4 but not surprising.one tends to get used to such illogical decisions on the part of pak management

  • on July 15, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    I think everybody is expecting too much from Afridi and this young team! This is a young team with an attacking leader, this is his first test match in 4 years and that too as a captain, he has some faith in these youngster and i dont find it a bad ploy to expose youngster at No.3 and No.4 against one of the best bowling line up in the world and in testing conditions, this is how they will learn! Afridi has put faith in these 2 young batsmen and sooner or later it will come off, Azhar Ali was playing very well, he seems to have a decent test technique and he needs to be given a longer run, its just that he and Umer Amin got a good ball, simple! in a wicket where the likes of Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson and Umer Akmal failed to score runs, what do you expect from a player who is making his debut? Come on guys you need to be more realistic and lets face it, Pakistan might go on to lose all the test matches, but they will come out stronger the next time they visit any country!

  • Bilal_Choudry on July 15, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    whats with asim kamal fans ... the guy last played like 5 years ago and didnt break any records ... we need to move forward and get new guys

  • on July 15, 2010, 11:34 GMT

    i know dis is an serious issue. but i cant stop my self laughin.

    "But let's forget the logic behind the decision because Pakistan cricket has never believed in that notion. " ROFl comic tragedy..

  • dr_salman on July 15, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    just like bowlers learn from the seniors standing at mid off or mid on...coming up to them n telling how to bowl...similarly a rookie batsman shd have an experienced guy at the other end to keep talking to him n guiding...who do u expect that from..afridi playing his 1st test in last 4 yrs?

    n yes on a difficult pitch y wd u expect newcommers to make centuries..its the farhats, akmals n afridis who shd ve fired !! yasir hameed shd ve bin included..

    n guys...WHERE THE HELL IS ASIM KAMAL??...the guy has a real cool test temprament !!

  • on July 15, 2010, 11:22 GMT

    i think people should stop harping on about asim kamal he's made to be this shakepearan character that due to the tradegy of the selectors never fulfilled his talent to become our answer to rahul dravid .he was at best an admirable workhorse the type to average around 38 a honest pro nothing special and definately no real threat to a world class attack like australias.a player that should have been pushed and backed was hasan raza a player whos record in the first class system betters any none test playing player.but all thats in the past .to stop our world class attack losing heart in the future the way indias batting line up used to before there bowlers upped their game our senior players need to be back at the least younis khan to guide new players .also pcb needs to stop picking 40 averaging domestic players as if they cant average higher in the poor pakistani international bowler depleted league what chance do they have against world class bowlers.

  • rkannancrown on July 15, 2010, 11:15 GMT

    This test really showed up the disservice PCB has done to pak cricket. They took action against Yousuf even though he did his best with an inexperienced Pakistani team playing in hostile conditions. He is, by far, the best Pakistani batsman of his generation, especially under difficult circumstances. PCB would do well to go begging him to forgive & forget and rescue this team.

  • Beertjie on July 15, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    I agree with Tauseef Satti that a possible solution of the problem would have been Muhammad Wasim - a forgotten test batsman who seems to have learned through experience. He deserves a chance to see if he really is a one test wonder. Why do Farhat and Hameed keep getting opportunities and he is ignored?

    I also agree with Abid Shah's list given the squad picked. For Leeds, though, pick an extra batsman (Malik?) and omit Kaneria so that under seaming conditions the batsmen give the pace bowlers a chance. If it flattens out, use Malik and Afridi for containment with appropriate fields from one end.

    It is worthwhile investing in young talent, but one or two older hands who are prepared to help the youngsters are needed. Why then have Malik in the squad? From an outsider's perspective, it seems that PCB think his relative youth in comparison with the two Y's was decisive. But, there may have been other possible squad capable of nurturing young talent and providing stability!

  • on July 15, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    The selectors who decided the final eleven of Pakistan team are the peopleresponsible for the state the team is in at present. I am ok with Malik being deciplined and kept out but Hameed should have played for Farhat and Fawad Alam who scored a century recently is a much more capable batsman than Azhar Ali.

    Also sending two debutants at 3&4 against Australia is foolish especially when you are playing in Engand. In my opinion Umar Akmal is the right person for no 4 spot and he should take on the role of sheet anchor in test matches. Afridi is the worst example of a captain leading by example. He should have stayed at the wicket.

    All in all Pakistan is heading for another embarrasing defeat

  • on July 15, 2010, 10:12 GMT

    PAKISTAN SHOULD QUIT TEST CRICKET FOR A WHILE! EVERY ONE KNEW THAT WE DO NOT HAVE ANY MIANDAD OR INZAMAM, SIMPLY AVOID ALL SORT OF TEST CRICKET FOR FEW YEARS.

  • SyedArbabAhmed on July 15, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    To include 2 debutants against Australia, in English environment, in rainy condition and Pakistan has not even drawn a single test matches since ages against Australia, this decision is not wise but stupid.

  • nawwabsahab on July 15, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    why not letting only one guy to make a debut? why not..? who on earth has advised to throw the lads one bu one in front of the roaring lion with such difficult batting conditions ? why on earth afridi didnt come in between amin and azher ? why on earth we are persisting with age old farhat ? we never had any chance of surviving and never will get any chance of surviving with such attitude. Just look at our captain, what type of innings he played during the second day of the first test at lords a 15 ball 31. what a pitty, what a shame

  • A.Abrar on July 15, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Afridi's approach to attack was justified, as other batsmen were fallen whlie defending. The only way to dominate aussies is to attack them. I would prefer umar akmal to bat at number 3. Yasir hameed should be given chance in place of imran farhat whereas the two youngsters should be part of playing 11 in remaining summer or atleast in next match. They should be given a fair chance to prove themselves.

  • on July 15, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    this is really ridiculous to note that pak selectors have failed to tag yaseer hameed and asim kamal in the squad. instead they have two rookies who hardly has got any technique and temparament to fend off test bowling attack. hapless and schoolboy batting from pakistan.

  • on July 15, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    We have a very good player who has not been given enough chance.

    ASIM KAMAL

    He averages 37+ in Test Cricket but I don't know for what reason never got enough chance to play in the team. I know he plays slowly but I feel like if he is included in time and given good matches to play, he can really be very useful.

    You can view his profile at: http://www.cricinfo.com/pakistan/content/player/39041.html

    I strongly believe we should bring him back in the team if he is fit to play.

  • on July 15, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    I am amazed that Yasir Hameed who scored a 50 in the side game was not included and the ever so inconsistent Farhat who scored 6 was selected. Another shocker was the non inclusion of Mr Shoaib Mirza ( ok he is a bad influence and creates then why is he with the team. If he is there Pakistan must have him in the side because of his experience. Umer and Azhar need to be given further chances Mr Farhat No more... The youngsters will eventually come up but if they are treated like the Ahmad Shahzad's or Khurram Manzur's or Asad Shafiq's of the more recent past then Pak cricket is in for torrid times. And with the kind of batting display by Akmal brothers Faisal iqbal and his uncle Miandad would be justified in saying that Faisal Iqbal would have done better. Its high time that we need consistency in the batting and not have one test wonders of the past like M. Wasim, Ali Naqvi or Wasti.

  • on July 15, 2010, 8:29 GMT

    Well written, a true lover of cricket with sense understand this around the cricket world but this is Pakistan (PPP & Zardari Pakistan). There are no more corrupt Govt around the world then in Pakistan & Mr. Butt (Sorry Mr. But) is also a relative of one of the leader of PPP. These new guys are real unfortunate to open up their luck against the best of today's cricket & specially in England. I think Younis must fight out his case in Court.

    What i'm shocked is the chief selector Mr. Mohsin Khan, who was known for his sensible comments on TV has joined hands with Mr. Butt( Well money does matter).

  • robheinen on July 15, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Young batsmen like Shahid Afridi? :-)

  • dsig3 on July 15, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    The inexpierience was not the problem. The young boys nicked behind on a juicy wicket. So what. What do you expect? The Akmals and Afridi are Pakistan's problem. That was a disgrace. Butt showed that Aus where not bowling that well but Pak are a horrible batting side. Looking forward to crushing Pak tonight.

  • on July 15, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Isme Afridi ki kya taarif hai dekho padho!!

  • on July 15, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    Solution of the problem is "Muhammad Wasim" a forgotton test batsman who is 32 years old. Has solid technique, plenty of experience on seaming tracks (he has played first class cricket in New Zealand) and on top of everything he is in form (averaging 50+ last season in First class cricket). I cant understand why selectors arent evening considering him while the two Y's arent available.Why its always about players from Kaarachi and Lahore ?? i hope Muhammad Wasim gets a call for England series.

  • on July 15, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    Well, let's be more constructive here. Pakistan are trying to build a new team, and they are very honest about it. Yes, may be the firs tshot at the experiment failed, but it is true everywhere. Let us give them some more time to buildup. We cannot expect things to change overnight, and also consider the extremely unfavorable conditions these youngsters are facing. Also, Afridi's approach looked reckless and suicidal, but I believe it had something to do with the innings situation. His team was under pressure, and he tried to put that back on the Aussies in the best way he knows. I think, he will also mature surely.

    Overall, let's give some time to this new exciting Pakistan outfit under the new exciting leader.

  • MSDonLSD on July 15, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    well looks like Yousuf was right after all about new fresh Pakistani batting talent being limited to T20 skills! There is no doubt that until the Y's are brought back Pakistan will suffer in the test batting department. I doubt Malik or Hameed are good enough to carry a test innings through alone just like Salman Butt could not do alone. However, the Y's could pull it off. Its just sad being an Indian fan and enjoying the Pakistani bowling attack so much only to realize their batting weakness makes them an ordinary team. I wish we (India) had such bowling talent!

  • cricketfan55 on July 15, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    Bring back younis khan in to the team, Sack Ijaz Butt, we have had enough of your ego, He wont come to you and apologise for something he hasn't done,He has given his best for 10-15 years, Its now time to start thinking about the country, Its amazing to see the way they are treating senior players like yousuf and younus who have given 10-15 years to the country and Ijaz Butt has only been a chairman for 6 months or so, I am a proud pakistani supporter, but i am really annoyed, When u have talent u need seniors to guide them, This is the biggest secret in the success of Australia they always had seniors like gichrist, hayden, martin,ponting when clarke came in, same thing happened with mitchell johnson he had mcgrath,lee, warne. These people never learn from their mistakes. Yousuf, Younis, Misbah these guys are already over 32, the max they will play is one or two more years, So if you think the country comes before you, you will get them back ASAP and play them with the youngsters.

  • on July 15, 2010, 6:43 GMT

    PAKISTAN'S COACH IS BOWLER, WAQAR YOUNIS. AND IJAZ AHMED WAS NEVER CONSIDERED HIS BATTING TECHNIQUE SOUND AT TEST LEVEL.

    SENIOR PLAYERS MIGHT HAVE USEFUL TO GROOM YOUNGER PLAYERS LIKE WASEEM AKRAM DID WHEN HE WAS CAPTAIN,HE GROOMED ABDUL RAZZAK,AZHAR MAHMOOD,SHOAIB AKHTAR AND BACKED MOHAMMAD YOUSUF,MOIN KHAN,AND SAQLAIN MUSHTAQ.SAEED ANWER AND INZI NEVER GOT IN CAPTAINCY POLITICS LIKE NOW AS DID BY SHOAIB MALIK,MISBAH AND AFRIDI

    WHEN IMRAN KHAN CAPTAIN, HE GROOMED WASEEM,WAQAR,AQIB, AND INTRODUCED INZI,AMIR,RAMEEZ,MOIN,MUSHTAQ AHMED AND BACKED THEM.NO POLITICS WAS PLAYED BY JAVED MIANDAD ON CAPTAINCY ISSUE.

    TEAMS ARE MADE ON GROOMING PLAYERS, IF THERE'S POLTICS THEN EVEN IMRAN KHAN WOULD NOT RECIEVE WORLD CUP 92. WASEEM AKRAM NEVER REACHED IN FINAL WORLD CUP 99.

    COACH MUST BE BATTING COACH INSTEAD OF BOWLER.

  • MFNadeem on July 15, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    Umar Akmal could come before Amin to give some solidarity. I don't know why our team management tries to put all pressure on Umar Akmal's shoulders. Whenever he comes to the crease, team is 3 or 4 down to test his nerves. I wish, Mr Ejaz Butt will make some sense (he doesn't have any though) and recall either Younis or Yousaf for England tour. Pakistan never needed them more badly than now.

  • rana_raza on July 15, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    Spot on! Can't agree more.

  • dmqi on July 15, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    Well sir, you are telling the same thing that most cricket lovers around the world are saying for the last one year. But this is Pakistan, a state where normal thing should not be expected. Even a 12 year old child understand that you need experienced players to play test cricket. This does not get into the brain of PCB or their selectors. What a shame. See the comment of one Australian player couple of days back about the absence of the two Y's. . Afridi is not a test player, he retired from test cricket. And now he is the Captain of the test team, but still playing T20 today. Pakistan does not have any choice but to bring back the two Y's if they want to compete with any of the top 4 test playing countries or develop the youngsters. A whitewash by Australia and England is on the card. And Afridi will retire again from test match giving the crown to Malik possibly.

    Excellent post for the PCB and the selectors from a sensible blog writer. Q from USA

  • Farce-Follower on July 15, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    Shocking...the innings from Afridi. Forget notions about a fearless or brave new order. The man does not have basic cricketing intelligence. He has frittered the tremendous advantage his bowlers gave.

  • on July 15, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    These kids have no hope due to the ridiculous situation they have been put in. Even the budding Bradman struggled early in his career but at least had experienced players around him. In any cricket side at any level you must have a balance of youth and experience if you want success. Ijaz Butt and his cronies have condemned this side to a 6 match test tour in England that will pale in comparison to their recent poor display in Australia.

  • Rooboy on July 15, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    In the interests of equality, I'd like to see the young Pakistani batsmen given a helping hand by an Australian bowler. Maybe big Dougie can 'accidently' smash into a pakistani batsman ... seems OK for pakistani's to do it to aussie batsmen so I'm sure no one would complain if they got hit 'accidently' in return. *lol* ... except for sub continent cricket writers and fans with article after article and comment after comment condemning Australia for the same stuff they sweep under the carpet when done by pak.

  • natmastak_so-called on July 15, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    only way to improve them is to play agnst ind only & include salman butt & shoib malik in each match.

  • on July 15, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    Awesome.... Like lambs to be slaughtered two Pak debutants were slotted in at No 3 & 4 - two spots usually reserved for the best batsmen in the team.

  • natmastak_so-called on July 15, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    For this line up,gillespie will be enough as a batting coach ...

  • beeran on July 15, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    inclusion of azhar and amin was a brave move.lets not critisize simply because the expriment failed for the first time.give them time.but which crazy mind decided them to bat at crusial no.3&4?experiencied kamran should bat at no.3

  • Woody111 on July 15, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    Nice article; I couldn't believe Afridi's recklessness. His bowling is not up to test level and if he bats like that at 7 then all hope is gone for Pak. They're playing with 10 while he's playing like that. Watching the poor bowlers go out on day 2 after already bowling 80 odd overs; sore and stiff, goes to show while 20 wickets wins you tests, you need runs on the board. Aus will try to ground them into the dust and get a huge lead for Pak to chase. The only shining light was Butt who batted better than his average suggests. Debutants numbers 3 and 4 - what are you doing Pak?

  • on July 15, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    I strongly believe that on such wickets, rather than being overly cautious, you need to take a few calculated risks, and try and score a few runs, coz sooner or later you'll get an absolute peach of delivery, totally unplayable and that'll be the end of it. So better not let the bowler settle down.

  • on July 15, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    I dont think Afridi needs to take any blame. He may well have gone on to score a 50 had he faced 5 more balls. Its the only way he knows to play, when will you people realize that?

    Had he tried to play 'sensibly' and 'occupy the crease', sooner than later he would have nicked one to paine or ponting anyway.

    Its Afridi who took Pakistan beyond 100, else they may well have found it difficult to do so.

    Stupid move by Pakistan to slot the two debutants at 3 and 4. I am sure they wont change the batting order in the 2nd innings either.

  • brendancricket on July 15, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    It looked so promising for the Pakis......

  • longhit60 on July 15, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    i dont know why people talk about mohammad yousuf and younis khan they r good player.just last 1 year younis and yousof together play anginst srilanka 1st test pak need 178 runs for win pak allout 117 .2nd test 1st inning pak allout 90 and 2nd inning pak 285 run lost just 1 wkt all out 320.in nzl and aus pak same.today all new player weather is not good lot of time match stop.aus is lucky 1st inning umpire not give out kitch 2 time he make 80 runs if he out aus not cross 150 runs in 1st inning.salman butt all time for him slef not for team.afridi 1st test after long time but he play not bad if not make runs 31 pak all out in under 100.

  • on July 15, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    An excellent post.

    Indeed there is a need to define a strategy that should inspire and give support to the youngsters.

  • zashrafi on July 15, 2010, 3:08 GMT

    Well Deja vu all over again!! Pakistan bawling does well and Batting let's them down. Pakistan test matches are as predictable as sub continent's formula movies.

  • topspeed55 on July 15, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    Their manager, Yawar Saeed, even predicted Amin as "a future Viv Richards. Let him atleast play 50 Test Matches and we will see if we can even compare. He is on debut Mr. Saeed. Ha ha ha ..................... So funny

  • AleemLatif on July 15, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    It looks like Pakistan Batsmen should never be told that they are playing a Test Match. They should always be told that they are playing T20 or ODI. At least they would make more runs than what they do in Test Innings. Can't understand why we Imran Farhat still in side instead of Yasir Hameed or somebody else. But the way Akmal Brothers threw their wickets away - looks something fishy there. Coach and Captain should tell them to play their natural game and forget about the fact that they are playing test cricket. These batsmen are not like Javed Miandad or Zaheer Abbas class. They are all Tap-Tennis Cricket crop of Pakistan where you are required to score 150 runs in 8 overs Innings - so you don't worry about Batting Technique - you just worry about hitting a six or at least a 4 on every ball and if you are a bowler you have to bowl as quick as possible so that the batsmen can't even see your ball. This Tap-Tennis cricket mindset is working for our Bowlers but not the Batsmen.

  • JibranSial on July 15, 2010, 0:46 GMT

    You have no idea about Afridi... Stop criticizing him... if he played a true test innings he couldn't have got even double figures.. He lacks the technique and that's why the way he batted was the only way he could have succeeded... He rides on his luck... If he had middled a few more and stayed their for few more deliveries, Pakistan might have got 200-220... But if he plays against his nature, he won't be able to score even 10 runs... You should know much more about the player and his limitations before criticising his temperament....

  • Legal_Doosra on July 15, 2010, 0:43 GMT

    Completely agree with the author. Our batting including Younis and Yousuf is at best average and when we, due to non cricketing reasons, take out the two best batsman then all you have left is a speculative shot at winning. This might be fine for the shorter version of the game but will seldom work in test cricket that too against a team like Australia. I would like to know what the official PCB take is on not selecting Younis/Yousuf at least for the test matches. Also, Khurram should have been selected as an opener or number 3 given that he did really well against Australia in Australia. Instead they select Imran Farhat who has been a continuous failure as an opener. Selecting Amin and Azhar Ali in their first test against Australia is unfair to the d├ębutantes themselves as their failure will surely dent their confidence for a long time. Their selection when you have two world class test players available is unfair to Pakistan. Ijaz Butt needs to GO!

  • Faakhir on July 14, 2010, 23:22 GMT

    Akmal brothers and Imran farhat must make up for the first inning's failure if Pakistan has to put up a decent fight! Considering AbdulRazaq for the second test at headingley may be a worthwhile idea; it will not just bolster pace bowling attack in traditional swing and seam conditions up north but also reinforce the batting with some much needed experience.

  • on July 14, 2010, 23:11 GMT

    Mr. Gollapudi good observations, but unfortunately Pakistan is being run by people who's kids live in Middle East, and UK, they do not care for the country, why would they care to appoint someone with a brain to lead PCB, which is just a sports for them.

    People nuture talent, while Pakistan create circumstances where talent could be wasted. They found Umar Akmal, who could have been benefited from the presence of Yousaf and Younis in the team, but they throw both of them out, since they wouldn't apologize to Mr. Butt the Buffoon for a crime they never committed.

    Then with available resources, instead of playing an experience batsman, Yasir Hameed at number 3, they through Azhar to face the music in these conditions, where players like Ponting (with 50+ avg and over 11000) and Hussey (52+ avg) was troubled.

    If Mr. Butt was principled rather than personal, pakistan should have been playing: 1. Butt 2. Yasir 3. Younas 4. Umar Amin/Azhar Ali 5. Umar Akmal 6. K Akmal 7. Afridi et al.

  • PatrickJM on July 14, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    Allthough an outsider Scotsman, I agree with Nagraj wholeheartedly. Sending debutants at three and four, particularly in English conditions (the most testing for any batting lineup, regardless of the bowling) is crazy. Undoubtedly, the Pakistani bowlers are world-class - a batting lineup that includes Yousuf and Younis may be undesirable for certain members of the PCB, but the greater end must justify the means. Still, good luck Pakistan!

  • MohanB on July 14, 2010, 22:26 GMT

    It's painful to see the Pakistani batsmen waste yet another golden opportunity created by their bowlers. Given the inverse problem faced by India, it is time for both the cuntries to swallow pride and field a joint team, a la West Indies. Imagine the following15 for the World Cup! Sachin, Sehwag, Dhoni, Yuvraj, U. Akmal, Raina, Afridi, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Aamer, Gul, Akhtar, Ajmal, K. Akmal.

  • raheem030766 on July 14, 2010, 22:16 GMT

    It ws not surprising that today Pakistan collapsed to 148 all out. Out of the seven main batsmen five managed to get 26 between them. Under the circumstances in my opinion Afridi had no choice but to attack Aussie bowling.If he had faced another thirty deliveries you never know he may have scored the fastest century in test cricket. Obviously both Waqar and Afridi must be really frustrated as they are missing country's best and experienced batsmen. What are Yunus Khan and Mohammed Yusuf doing sitting at home? Who is responsible? Ijaz Butt and PCB need to resolve the situation immediately and get both of them on the first flight to London. The Pakistani nation demands this as Pakistan always comes first,there is no time for personal egos. At the moment bowlers are performing but non performance of the batsmen may demoralise the bowlers leading to another situation similar to what happened in Australia few months ago with Pakistan not winning a single test in the UK .

  • MyComments on July 14, 2010, 22:14 GMT

    I fully agree with you. Is it ego of the chairman of PCB or what but Pakistan is suffering. He will be remembered in the history of Pakistan cricket as a person responsible for the destroying the carrier of so many bright players. May God guide him, and also give some common sense to people responsible for his appointment.

  • on July 14, 2010, 21:54 GMT

    I think Afridi did better than what people expected from him. And his innings today was the need of the hour. They just couldn't afford another wicket falling defensively. It was unorthodox, yes- but it gave them 31 important runs; more than the entire middle order combined.

  • ZAK1234567 on July 14, 2010, 21:36 GMT

    IF ONLY PAKISTAN HAD A TAMIM IQBAL THEY COULD HAVE TAKEN THIS AUSSIE ATTACK TO THE CLEANERS I RATE ENGLAND'S BOOWLING FAR BETTER THAN AUSTRALIA .

  • on July 14, 2010, 21:19 GMT

    Wished we had a Tamim Iqbal in the side could have take this aussie attack to the cleaners .Lolz

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on July 14, 2010, 21:19 GMT

    Wished we had a Tamim Iqbal in the side could have take this aussie attack to the cleaners .Lolz

  • ZAK1234567 on July 14, 2010, 21:36 GMT

    IF ONLY PAKISTAN HAD A TAMIM IQBAL THEY COULD HAVE TAKEN THIS AUSSIE ATTACK TO THE CLEANERS I RATE ENGLAND'S BOOWLING FAR BETTER THAN AUSTRALIA .

  • on July 14, 2010, 21:54 GMT

    I think Afridi did better than what people expected from him. And his innings today was the need of the hour. They just couldn't afford another wicket falling defensively. It was unorthodox, yes- but it gave them 31 important runs; more than the entire middle order combined.

  • MyComments on July 14, 2010, 22:14 GMT

    I fully agree with you. Is it ego of the chairman of PCB or what but Pakistan is suffering. He will be remembered in the history of Pakistan cricket as a person responsible for the destroying the carrier of so many bright players. May God guide him, and also give some common sense to people responsible for his appointment.

  • raheem030766 on July 14, 2010, 22:16 GMT

    It ws not surprising that today Pakistan collapsed to 148 all out. Out of the seven main batsmen five managed to get 26 between them. Under the circumstances in my opinion Afridi had no choice but to attack Aussie bowling.If he had faced another thirty deliveries you never know he may have scored the fastest century in test cricket. Obviously both Waqar and Afridi must be really frustrated as they are missing country's best and experienced batsmen. What are Yunus Khan and Mohammed Yusuf doing sitting at home? Who is responsible? Ijaz Butt and PCB need to resolve the situation immediately and get both of them on the first flight to London. The Pakistani nation demands this as Pakistan always comes first,there is no time for personal egos. At the moment bowlers are performing but non performance of the batsmen may demoralise the bowlers leading to another situation similar to what happened in Australia few months ago with Pakistan not winning a single test in the UK .

  • MohanB on July 14, 2010, 22:26 GMT

    It's painful to see the Pakistani batsmen waste yet another golden opportunity created by their bowlers. Given the inverse problem faced by India, it is time for both the cuntries to swallow pride and field a joint team, a la West Indies. Imagine the following15 for the World Cup! Sachin, Sehwag, Dhoni, Yuvraj, U. Akmal, Raina, Afridi, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Aamer, Gul, Akhtar, Ajmal, K. Akmal.

  • PatrickJM on July 14, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    Allthough an outsider Scotsman, I agree with Nagraj wholeheartedly. Sending debutants at three and four, particularly in English conditions (the most testing for any batting lineup, regardless of the bowling) is crazy. Undoubtedly, the Pakistani bowlers are world-class - a batting lineup that includes Yousuf and Younis may be undesirable for certain members of the PCB, but the greater end must justify the means. Still, good luck Pakistan!

  • on July 14, 2010, 23:11 GMT

    Mr. Gollapudi good observations, but unfortunately Pakistan is being run by people who's kids live in Middle East, and UK, they do not care for the country, why would they care to appoint someone with a brain to lead PCB, which is just a sports for them.

    People nuture talent, while Pakistan create circumstances where talent could be wasted. They found Umar Akmal, who could have been benefited from the presence of Yousaf and Younis in the team, but they throw both of them out, since they wouldn't apologize to Mr. Butt the Buffoon for a crime they never committed.

    Then with available resources, instead of playing an experience batsman, Yasir Hameed at number 3, they through Azhar to face the music in these conditions, where players like Ponting (with 50+ avg and over 11000) and Hussey (52+ avg) was troubled.

    If Mr. Butt was principled rather than personal, pakistan should have been playing: 1. Butt 2. Yasir 3. Younas 4. Umar Amin/Azhar Ali 5. Umar Akmal 6. K Akmal 7. Afridi et al.

  • Faakhir on July 14, 2010, 23:22 GMT

    Akmal brothers and Imran farhat must make up for the first inning's failure if Pakistan has to put up a decent fight! Considering AbdulRazaq for the second test at headingley may be a worthwhile idea; it will not just bolster pace bowling attack in traditional swing and seam conditions up north but also reinforce the batting with some much needed experience.

  • Legal_Doosra on July 15, 2010, 0:43 GMT

    Completely agree with the author. Our batting including Younis and Yousuf is at best average and when we, due to non cricketing reasons, take out the two best batsman then all you have left is a speculative shot at winning. This might be fine for the shorter version of the game but will seldom work in test cricket that too against a team like Australia. I would like to know what the official PCB take is on not selecting Younis/Yousuf at least for the test matches. Also, Khurram should have been selected as an opener or number 3 given that he did really well against Australia in Australia. Instead they select Imran Farhat who has been a continuous failure as an opener. Selecting Amin and Azhar Ali in their first test against Australia is unfair to the d├ębutantes themselves as their failure will surely dent their confidence for a long time. Their selection when you have two world class test players available is unfair to Pakistan. Ijaz Butt needs to GO!